Folliculitis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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If your dog is scratching his skin more than usual, it could be a sign that he has folliculitis.

Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles, and can cause a lot of discomfort for your furry friend.

Here, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of folliculitis in dogs.


What is folliculitis in dogs


Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles, usually due to bacterial infection.

It can cause redness, swelling, and itching in the affected area.

Folliculitis is most often caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, but it can also be caused by viruses or parasites.


What causes folliculitis in dogs


As said, the most common cause of folliculitis is a bacterial or fungal infection.

Bacteria can enter the hair follicles through a break in the skin, and fungi can grow on the skin due to moisture and warmth.

That said, viruses and parasites can also cause folliculitis, like the same ones that cause demodectic mange. Usually though, they occur more in puppies because their immune systems are not fully developed.

Ringworms can also cause folliculitis (they're considered the 'fungal' part of the infection)

Sometimes, canine folliculitis can also be triggered by your dog's allergies to specific compounds.

It's similar to how humans can get a rash if we come into contact with something we're allergic to.


Signs and symptoms of folliculitis in dogs


The most common symptom of folliculitis is excessive scratching.

The infected area may also be swollen, red, and inflamed.

In some cases, there may be pustules (pus-filled blisters) on the skin. If your dog has any of these symptoms, he should see a veterinarian as soon as possible!

The common symptoms can include:

  • Excessive scratching
  • The infected area may also be swollen, red, and inflamed
  • The affected area (the bumps) can be painful for your dog
  • In more severe cases, there may be pustules (pus-filled blisters) on the skin
  • hair loss (alopecia) in localized area
  • skin lesions
  • Crusty or flaky skin (epidermal collarette)

If your dog has any of these symptoms and has redness on the skin, he should see a veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment options.


How to treat folliculitis in dogs


The treatment for folliculitis will vary depending on the underlying cause.

If it is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, antibiotics or antifungal medications may be prescribed.

If it is caused by a virus or parasite, treatment will focus on relieving symptoms until the infection goes away. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the infected hair follicles (last resort, and very rarely happens)


  • If it is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, antibiotics or antifungal medications may be prescribed
  • If it is caused by a virus or parasite, treatment will focus on relieving symptoms until the infection goes away

In some rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the infected hair follicles.

Your veterinarian can help you determine the best course of treatment for your dog's folliculitis.


Prevention of folliculitis in dogs


It's quite an impossible task to prevent your dog from getting folliculitis, but you can reduce his risk by keeping him clean and dry.

Make sure he has access to plenty of fresh water, and groom him regularly. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, be sure to protect him from fleas and ticks with tick spray.

Also, ensure that you regularly check his body for ticks and fleas too!


Frequently asked questions about canine folliculitis


what does folliculitis look like in dogs?


It can range from simple redness of the skin, all the way to pustules and pus filled sores.

Folliculitis in dogs can look different depending on what is causing it. In general, the infected area will be red, swollen, and inflamed. There may also be pustules or blisters present.


how to treat folliculitis in dogs at home?


There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the treatment for folliculitis will vary depending on the underlying cause.

Of course if it's an allergic reaction, the only real treatment is to remove the item, and let your dog recover.

However, some tips to help treat folliculitis at home include keeping your dog clean and dry, and applying a cold compress to the affected area.

If you are concerned that your dog's folliculitis may be caused by a more serious infection, it is best to consult with your veterinarian. 


Is folliculitis contagious?


Folliculitis is not contagious in general, unless it's caused by parasites or ringworms.


Folliculitis is not typically considered a highly contagious condition, but it can spread from one dog to another if the infection is caused by a virus or parasite.


is canine folliculitis contagious to humans?


Current research says no.

There is no evidence that folliculitis is contagious from dogs to humans.

However, it is always best to practice good hygiene and avoid contact with any areas of the dog's skin that are inflamed or infected.


Is folliculitis in dogs worse when shedding?


There is no evidence to suggest that folliculitis is worse when a dog is shedding.

However, when your dog is shedding, it can look worse - similar to alopecia. If the hair follicles in a particular area is already inflamed, the shedding will look worse, but the hair is already going to fall out.


That said, it is always better to keep your dog groomed regularly, regardless of the time of year for their comfort and benefit.


How do I prevent my dog from getting folliculitis?


Unfortunately, there's no way to completely prevent any dog from getting folliculitis.

Remember that canine folliculitis isn't a disease or anything - rather, it's just their hair follicles being inflamed by bacterial, fungal or viral infections.

As such, the issue is literally skin deep.

But while there is no sure way to prevent your dog from getting folliculitis, but you can reduce his risk by keeping him clean and dry.

Make sure he has access to plenty of fresh water, and groom him regularly. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, be sure to protect him from fleas and ticks.


Conclusion


Folliculitis is a skin infection that can occur in dogs when hair follicles are irritated.

The condition is usually treated with antibiotics, and the prognosis is good if the infection is caught early.

If you think your dog may have folliculitis, be sure to take him or her to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment!


about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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